FYI, this is a sponsored post, but as you’ll read below, I am personally interested in this topic and am eager to share with you what I’ve recently learned regarding my teeth-straightening options. All opinions are my own.
Up until about 6 months ago, I’d always viewed orthodontia as purely cosmetic. Sure, I would have loved to have perfectly straight teeth (who wouldn’t?), but growing up in a family in which money was tight, I accepted my good-enough alignment at a fairly young age. In fact, people often noted how nice my smile was (I even won the “Smile Award” for my 5th grade drill team!), so I actually felt quite good about my appearance in that regard and hardly gave braces a passing thought.
That was, until recently. Though they aren’t visible in the photo above, my bottom teeth are actually quite crowded, and their crookedness has put pressure on my upper teeth, causing them to shift over time. My right central incisor (the front tooth on the left side, if you are looking straight at me) is being pressed outward, and, more concerning, my teeth are beginning to show significant wear. Corners of teeth that used to be square are becoming noticeably rounded, and my dentist told me at my last checkup that he observed a large number of very small chips in my teeth that he believes have been caused by their misalignment.
Straightness aside, I want my chompers to be healthy and functional for a lifetime, so when my dentist shared his concerns, I knew it was time to start researching my options. I moved forward with scheduling an orthodontic consultation (which is set to happen this Thursday), and I was thrilled when I heard about a blogger event that Invisalign was hosting in the Seattle area. It was an opportunity to learn from a pair of orthodontists who are familiar with the use and effectiveness of Invisalign products, and the timing couldn’t have been better. (As a side note, the folks we met with were fabulous! Greg Vaughn and Paola Leone (above) are a husband and wife duo that share a joint orthodontic practice in the Seattle area. They were an utter joy, and I definitely recommend checking them out.)
Here’s what I learned:
- Invisalign is a new alternative to braces that uses a system of lightweight, removable plastic aligners that, when used properly, are just as effective at straightening the teeth as traditional metal braces. Treatment is customized for each patient, and orthodontists use precise 3D modeling to map the treatment plan from start to finish. Each set of aligners is typically worn for two weeks, and in that time, the teeth will shift 1/4 mm. The number of aligners needed will vary based on the individual, but the average is between 18 and 30, with treatment duration ranging from 9 to 15 months.
- The obvious advantage with Invisalign over metal braces is that it is virtually invisible to others (which is especially beneficial for business professionals and self-conscious teens), but the orthodontists mentioned several other things that I hadn’t considered, such as comfort (no metal wires or brackets), lifestyle (Invisalign makes it easier for kids to continue playing sports or musical instruments that otherwise would be challenging with braces), and ease of hygiene (aligners are removable, so brushing and flossing can be done without a hassle).
- Invisalign has recently come out with Invisalign Teen, too, which is designed to meet the clinical needs of growing adolescents and makes the product available to pre-teens and teens.
I’m excited I had the opportunity to learn more about Invisalign at just the right time, and I’m looking forward to this Thursday’s orthodontic appointment to see if it’s the best choice for my situation. And hey, maybe it works out that I’ve waited till my late twenties to get my teeth in line – I might not have to experience the braces-related trials and frustrations that many of my middle school and high school friends couldn’t avoid!
Have you or someone you’ve known used Invisalign? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!
As I mentioned at the top of this post, this is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.